A Boy and his Batman
Have you played A Boy and his Blob for Wii? Well you should. Its a perfect realization of the concept of updating a classic with modern sensibilities. Its challenging, beautiful, and most importantly fun. The reason I bring this up is because this lovely piece of gaming was created by an extremely talented studio by the name of WayForward. You may have seen their names on some random Spongebob related crap, but don’t blame them. WayForward is a team that earns every penny they have by making those crappy games and uses those dollars to create the software they want. The results are usually nothing short of stellar. Now they’re about to work their magic on “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” and I couldn’t be happier.
I first discovered these guys with their brilliant release “Contra 4” for Nintendo DS. The idea was to make a direct sequel to Contra 3: The Alien Wars for SNES, and in a world dominated with polygons they decided to stick with hand drawn sprites and the result was fantastic. If you’re a fan of Contra you owe it to yourself to hunt this game down. At any rate, they finished that game and they moved onto Blob on Wii, this time updating a concept that was great in theory but not so great in practice. The original Boy and his Blob was a fantastic concept that fell flat on its face in practice. Designed by David Crane of Pitfall! fame, it told the story of a boy who meets a blob that loves jelly beans and the two wander around solving puzzles. I remember as a kid thinking the game was awesome, but it was totally unplayable. When I saw that WayForward was remaking it all these years later I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I wasn’t disappointed.
So, a few weeks ago I caught a trailer for Batman: The Brave and the Bold for Wii and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a bright and beautiful, hand animated side scrolling beat-em up. Once I saw that it was WayForward I preordered it immediately. It warms my heart to see the games industry heading in a direction where remembering classic gameplay styles can still be fun is becoming more and more mainstream. 5 years ago there wasn’t a company on earth willing to make their big kids property anything but a 3D plaformer and now it’s becoming downright commonplace. There’s still merit in that kind of design philosophy. And thanks to companies like WayForward, the future has never looked brighter.